Martin Gester's artistic personality has been fashioned through his constant acute curiosity and exposure to a great number of neglected masterpieces. That personality infuses his profoundly original approach to mainstream repertoire, whether at the head of his ensemble, as a guest conductor, or a soloist in chamber music.
Using his own personal style, he revives the ideal of the Baroque artist: open-minded, multifaceted and humanist. To this end, he draws on his dual literary and musical training (instrumental, organ and harpsichord, and vocal); his passion for history and attentiveness to oral traditions; his fondness for dance and theater; and his special interest in restoring the links between cultures and disciplines, which are customarily separated. In 1990, he founded Le Parlement de Musique in Strasbourg. It is a flexibly sized ensemble created to suit his tastes, and is both a place for experimentation and a dissemination tool. By turns singer in polyphonic groups, performer and improviser (aside from the organ, he studied the piano and harpsichord), choirmaster, musicologist and teacher (of both Classics and music), he has played many repertoires ranging over four centuries. His early passion for Renaissance polyphony certainly played its role in subsequently refocusing his activity on the art of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, but he also admits to a marked penchant for Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Weber, and bel canto opera from Paisiello to Donizetti.
He has been the conductor on some forty recordings at the head of Le Parlement de Musique (Opus 111, Naïve, Accord-Universal, Assai, Calliope and Tempéraments-Radio France), most of these being revelations of little-known music from varied repertoires, receiving awards from the international press. He has conducted on four continents in such prestigious venues as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Théâtre du Châtelet, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Toruń and Poznań Philharmonic Halls, and festivals at Ambronay, La Chaise-Dieu, Strasbourg, Sans-Souci (Potsdam), Schleswig-Holstein, Halle and Wrocław. He has also appeared as a guest conductor of other ensembles, including the New York Collegium, Les Chantres de la Chapelle de Versailles, the Nederlandse Bachvereniging Utrecht, and so on.
He pursues a parallel career as a solo organist and harpsichordist whilst also playing harpsichord and fortepiano in chamber music groups.
Martin Gester teaches the art of performing to singers and instrumentalists - especially on the harpsichord, also on the organ and the fortepiano - chamber music and baroque orchestral performing, at the Académie Supérieure de Musique de Strasbourg, and frequently gives Master classes.